Restart fellowship funds, CM Mamata writes to Javadekar

The CM said her government would allocate Rs 20 crore for MPhil and PhD scholars till the Centre restarts the fellowship funds.

Kolkata: Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has written to the union minister of human resource and development Prakash Javadekar, urging him to restart the non-NET fellowships for M.Phil and Ph.D. scholars, she said on Saturday. The ministry had stopped fellowship funds a few months ago, causing hardship for students seeking to pursue research.

“For the last few days, students of universities and colleges are taking part in our administrative review meetings in the districts. During such interactions, they have brought to my notice the distress caused to them due to stoppage of this fellowship scheme by the UGC.

They said that several researchers did not have the money to pay their hostel or mess fees, and some were even faced with the prospect of abandoning their dreams of pursuing research, due to stoppage of non-NET fellowship,” the chief minister told reporters at the state secreteriat Nabanna.

She stated in her letter that if research activities were stalled, the development of the state would come to a standstill. “Aspirations for higher education are rising. In the larger interest of research, and on behalf of the vast research scholar community of my state and other states, many of them first generation learners, I have written a letter to the MHRD minister,” she added.

The chief minister in her Facebook page also highlighted the problem of M.Phil and Ph.D. scholars. “I am told, release of funds by UGC under NET-JRF fellowships is erratic or delayed at times, causing uncertainty and distress to the recipients,” she posted.

The CM added that her government would allocate Rs 20 crore from Swami Vivekananda Merit cum Means Scholarship (SVMMS) to provide non-NET fellowship to research scholars admitted to M.Phil/Ph.D courses through “a fair and transparent selection process.”

“We are giving Rs 20 crore to research scholars till the union government restarts giving funds,” she said.

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